According to Rosstat data, for the last week of October, the prices of fresh cucumbers in Russia increased by nearly a third. In St Petersburg in a month the price soared by 500-1000%.
In supermarkets a month ago, prickly cucumbers cost €0.29 a kilo, now the average price is €2.18. In small stores and on market stalls the price is nearer to €2.90. On the internet farmers are selling long cucumbers for €7.63 a kilo, more expensive than meat! And the price is changing daily.
Gorod812, a St Petersburg newspaper has conducted an investigation into the reason behind the price increases; primarily a shortage of the vegetable. Cucumbers on the market at the moment are coming from greenhouses, and only by order. Supermarkets are actually having to wait in line for the product to be harvested. Farmers in the warmer areas of the country finished their harvest a few weeks ago and no product remains.
In the Krasnodar region the situation is the same. Growers in the region are being offered great prices from customers but do not have the tonnage customers require, instead they are having to ask clients to wait a month until the harvest is ready. If customers only need a small amount, they can purchase the local ‘German’ variety for €1.45 a kilo.
At the St. Petersburg company Gold, cucumbers are being supplied from Belarus, in a 15 minute period the price was raised from €1.60 to €2.18 per kilogram. The company explains that they paid €1.60 for a first batch and this then increased to €2.18. As there are few offers on the market buyers have little choice. They are now looking to Turkey and Azerbaijan, but as the delivery becomes more expensive, so does the product, explains the company.
On the internet imported cucumbers start from €1.35 a kilo, plus shipping. The former supplies of cheap cucumbers from the EU have been closed off because of the embargo. Cucumbers in St Petersburg are mostly supplied from Turkey. Local growers are few and this is because in the past they were unable to make money from the crop, now those that remain are trying to recoup their losses. The paper concludes that Russia seems to have returned to Soviet times with cucumbers disappearing from the shelves in October, not to be seen again until March.